3365 Quantum Continuum.
A new calculation paradigm makes computations more efficient. The quantum continuum is a huge advance for science and technology. Simulations are greatly accelerated and they achieve absolute accuracy. The days of discrete quantum computers are over. The continuum is much better. The quantum continuum gives a new push to technology in general.
Science and technology have been stagnating. The so-called standard tech level - the technology of the interstellar civilization - is very advanced. But it is hardly developing any further. Modern technology and its scientific foundations are very complicated. Many devices of modern large-scale technology are difficult to manufacture and to operate. They are based on scientific principles that only a few sophonts (augmented humans, aliens or AIs) fully understand.
The capabilities of everyday objects in the middle of the fourth millennium appear like magic. A private autofab makes everything you need, intelligent matter can take any desired forms, field screens produce almost immaterial objects. Such everyday technology is highly developed and has been optimized for centuries. Still, it is the more conventional part of the standard tech level.
The means of production used to make everyday objects are in a totally different league. This includes large-scale industrial technology, such as resource extraction and separation, the production of metamaterials as fab input, FTL drives with a thousand times the speed of light, and energy storage devices that can release the power equivalent of a sun for short periods of time. These devices show the true technological capabilities of a civilization. They provide the infrastructure for the modern everyday life and they make the fantastic life in the fourth millennium possible. The high-tech infrastructure is complex, difficult to manufacture and difficult to operate reliably. Because the devices must be very precise, often with spatial arrangements in the subatomic range, with perfect materials without defects or impurities. In operation, they process terawatts per cubic meter and their control requires computing power in the range of Exa-Qaps (Quantum Annealings per Second).
Against this background it is difficult to improve anything at all. Small changes to single parameters can cause other parameters to crash. Perfect error-free materials cannot be improved any further. All known scientific principles have been exploited to their limits and new ones are not in sight. Therefore, technology is stagnating at a high level. If a civilization is prosperous and can afford the expensive technology, it can at least keep the tech level. But further improvements are rare and even small advances require huge investments.
Progress has become rare. Especially big steps like the paradigm shift from old discrete quantum computers to the quantum continuum. This step is comparable to the digitalization or the replacement of digital computers by quantum computers. The quantum continuum does not compute just a single value like a quantum computer. It calculates all results at once. It produces the entire solution in analytical form. There are no more approximations, no iterations, no discrete steps, no simulations on a lattice. There are only complete globally exact solutions. Instead of quantum-supported numerics, which quickly delivers results for individual finite elements or voxels, there is now a new continuous paradigm. Continuous instead of discrete, final instead of iterative, global instead of local, perfect instead of approximated. The accuracy of the results is no longer limited by the accuracy of the mathematical model. And in addition, the quantum nature of the quantum continuum computes the complete solution at once.
This new technology benefits all fields of science and technology: materials science, biosynthesis, construction, system operation. All areas are relying heavily on simulations. Simulations, compute models, are used in the search for new physics theories as well as in the planning of new products. The food industry simulates the effects of new functional viruses in detail before any virus is synthesized. A new autofab for the private household is simulated and optimized in its entire operation at the atomic level. Even new quantum hardware is tested virtually before being built.
Better simulations allow for more efficient and better devices. This gives a boost to science and technology. Now, finally, technology can move forward again. Improvements are still difficult, but now they are possible again. All this does not happen immediately. But after hundreds of years of stagnation, FTL drives can be improved. Initially by 10 percent within 30 years, later even more, until the FTL factor reaches 6,000. Many areas see significant progress. Improvements by 10 or 20 percent are common. That does not sound much compared to the exponential development of technology in the early third millennium. But as history has shown, the tech boom of the previous millennium turn was not really exponential. It was just the dynamic phase of a sigmoidal curve that reached saturation by the middle of the third millennium at the latest. From then on, progress was very costly. Most improvements came from outside while mankind was adapting to the interstellar tech level.
But with quantum continuum as a lever technology, many sciences are now leaping to the next level. For the first time in history, humanity is contributing significantly to the interstellar tech level. Long established technological limits shift. Mankind reaches a new peak.